After a long, argumentative incubation period, Google’s new YouTube-branded streaming music service is set to go live.
At least, that’s according to Reuters, which reports that it’ll launch “in the coming weeks” as a choice of “subscription and ad-supported YouTube music services able to play several tracks in a row”.
Several tracks in a row? How has YouTube survived without such a feature until this point? Oh, wait…
Snippiness aside, the report provides some new information about Google’s plans for its other streaming services: Google Play Music All Access and the recently-acquired Songza.
Google’s VP of digital content tells Reuters that All Access is about to be revamped with features including Songza’s technology – which we’re taking to mean contextual playlists for specific moods, activities and times of the week.
What’s seemingly not due a change is the $9.99 monthly subscription: “Is the bigger upside getting more people to try these services, or is the bigger upside dropping the price by a dollar or two?” says Rosenberg. “Right now we’re focused on creating broad awareness that the service exists.”
With All Access estimated to have between 500,000 and “a few million” users according to industry analyst Mark Mulligan, the changes are noteworthy. But it’s YouTube’s push further into music that’s most interesting.
There’s been no update for a while on YouTube’s fallout with independent labels over the contractual terms for its new service, so when what-may-or-may-not-be-called YouTube Music Key launches, we’ll have a better idea about which indies have signed up, and just as importantly, whether those threats about holdouts being blocked from YouTube have been followed through on.
YouTube’s huge scale for music even before the new service launches remains clear. Online video industry site Tubefilter published its latest monthly chart yesterday, with several musicians’ channels in the global top 10.
Katy Perry had the third biggest YouTube channel in August with 226.1m views, and she was joined by Enrique Iglesias (fifth with 202.2m views), Nicki Minaj (seventh with an Anaconda-fuelled 187.1m views) and dance channel Spinnin’ Records (eighth with 165.7m views, but no snakes).
Vevo alone accounted for 23 of the 100 biggest YouTube channels in August, although note that even Perry’s views were half those of the most popular YouTuber, Swedish gamer PewDiePie, with his 449.2m August views.